Microsoft to give users heads-up on its security bulletin contents

Microsoft plans to give businesses advance information of its monthly security bulletins to help them to prepare for major...

Microsoft plans to give businesses advance information of its monthly security bulletins to help them to prepare for major security overhauls.

The software supplier will disclose details of the severity of security vulnerabilities and the software packages affected three days before the bulletins are released.

However, independent security expert Neil Barrett warned that there was a fine line between helping businesses to prepare and alerting hackers to vulnerabilities. "It is one of those two-edged swords. If you start telling people there is a vulnerability in a package, people are going to start looking for it. The warning could give hackers time to exploit it," he said.

Microsoft said it planned to introduce the service following a trial with a group of users. It said the users found the information was useful in getting systems ready to be patched.

"At this stage the information in the notification is very general. It is purposely non-specific. We do not want to disclose any information that could put customers at risk," said a spokeswoman for Microsoft.

Businesses will be able to download the advance notification from Microsoft's website this month and will have the option of subscribing to an e-mail notification service from December.

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